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Feds to investigate response to UM sexual assaults

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May 1, 2012 10:13 AM EST | AP


MISSOULA, Mont. — The U.S. Justice Department is investigating the way police, prosecutors and the University of Montana handle reports of sexual assault in Missoula.

Missoula County Attorney Fred Van Valkenberg says he received a letter Monday informing him of the investigation. He says he also was visited by representatives of the agency's Civil Rights Division. The Justice Department was expected to announce the investigation Tuesday.

UM President Royce Engstrom says it was his understanding the university, Missoula police and the county attorney's office would be the focus.

The university hired an outside investigator in December to examine reports that two UM students were drugged and gang raped that month.

The probe turned up nine alleged sexual assault cases between September 2010 and December 2011. Other reports were made after the investigation began.